The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has appointed former Diageo director Ian Wright as the new director-general of the trade association.

The ex-corporate relations director at drinks company Diageo will join the Federation before Easter to lead the organisation.

FDF president Dame Fiona Kendrick said: “Ian has huge experience in the food and drinks industry and is ideally qualified to champion the sector during a period of extraordinary change.

“Ian’s role will be to ensure that government and stakeholders understand the importance of food and drink manufacturing, and support our industry to meet the changing needs of UK consumers in the future.

“Jim Moseley has injected real passion and commitment into the role. We are grateful that he has agreed to stay with the FDF until the end of the month to ensure a seamless transition.”

Wright has previously worked for other food businesses, including Pillsbury, Burger King and Mars Confectionery.

He said: “The food and drink industry is a national asset, of which everyone in the UK should be justly proud. It is responsible for 400,000 jobs and, with an £80 billion contribution to the economy, the industry is critical to the UK. It’s a privilege to be asked to lead its representative body and to be its advocate in the important challenges to come.”

Wright succeeds Melanie Leech, who left late last year to join the British Property Federation.

The FDF has about 300 members, including AB Sugar, Allied Bakeries, Associated British Foods and Rank Hovis.